Drive

I drive out to the accountant’s office to pick up my completed tax forms. (I filed for an extension and the deadline is next week.) I find myself driving the wrong way, and have to rethink my route – backtrack from Harvard, up Eleventh from Broadway, and then down Aloha to 23rd. A police car with flashing lights blocks the outside lane on 23rd. An officer stands in the street, and a handful of people are up on the sidewalk next to a car. There’s nothing obvious wrong with the car except that it’s on the sidewalk and pointed toward traffic. Another police car slows down as it passes, the driver glances at the scene and moves on.

Now I’m down on 23rd and across the bridge. Make sure I’m in a right-turning lane, pass Husky Stadium, and switch lanes again.

I’m stopped at a red light. The car rocks left, right, and then level every time an SUV swoops past in the open right-forking lane beside mine. The Writer’s Almanac comes on the radio, Garrison Keiller’s delivery is smarmy and irritating, but I leave it on. I heard the show last week when I was driving back on this road after dropping my paperwork off at the accountant’s. On that segment, Garrison Keiller apparently had too much material. He had to rush through that reading, barely stopping long enough to breathe. It was odd.

I park the car and go inside. The accountant’s office moved last year. It’s across from a cemetery now, on a street that I used to ride down a few times a week with my ex-girlfriend whenever we drove from my house to her’s. The receptionist gives me an envelope, and I grab a pen and glance through the papers in the lobby. I return the pen without having signed anything. I’ll need to look through the forms again later. My accountant is presumably in her office down the hall, but I leave without having talking to her face-to-face at all this year.

I head back home, drive through University Village. The radio is on again, and Garrison Keiller is gone. They’re playing readings from Metro’s Poetry on Buses. One nervous reader affects an angry poet’s voice before calming down for a disarming punchline.

I pass Husky Stadium, cross the bridge, and drive up 23rd through Madison Park. A funeral procession is coming from the other direction and a police officer on a motorcycle motions approaching traffic to stop. Several cars pull over into the right lane and I follow suit. Cars in the procession are decorated with American flags and have their four-way blinkers flashing. Another officer comes along shortly and gives vague hand signals that contradict the first officer’s and southbound traffic begins moving again. I pass the tail end of the procession right where the car is parked up on the sidewalk. The same people are there – the same police car, and now a tow truck, backing up.

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